A few minutes ago, I walked up to my desk to discover a beautiful bouquet of red roses with a tag that read, “You’ll always be my Valentine! Love Daddy.” In approximately two seconds, my heart melted. I felt cared for, valued and so very loved.
Dads, I hope you realize how powerful your role is in your daughter’s life. I mean, it is crucial! I know we can be emotional, confusing and…ok…occasional illogical, but the truth is: we need you in a BIG way. The best way for you to guide our lives is for you to first hold our hearts. Somehow, my dad won mine long ago and today as I reflect back on twenty-eight years of feeling incredibly loved, I hope to give you a few tips to win your daughters’ hearts.
1. Be a man of Honor
No, you don’t have to buy a lance and shining armor. But demonstrate nobility by pursuing righteousness and conforming your life into the image of Christ. When your daughter sees you serving others selflessly, her heart will literally swell with respect for you. When she walks in on you reading your Bible, she will know that you are a man of integrity who truly practices what he preaches. Gaining her respect is the first step in winning her heart but it is also the hardest. The only way to do this is through the grace of our almighty God. Only He can teach you how to possess the unconditional love your daughter desperately needs.
2. Date her.
We call it “Daddy-Daughter-Dates” and they started when I was around three or four years old. They usually consist of dinner and some fun activity. Dad would always open my door and treat me like a princess. I didn’t realize it at the time, but he was demonstrating true manhood and setting the standard for what I would expect in my future husband.
I remember watching Beauty and the Beast with him for the first time. The wolves came after the Beast and Dad let me hold his hand until it was over. To this day, it’s still my favorite movie for that reason. Dads date your daughters.
3. Date her mom.
When I see my Dad romance Mom, it does something to me. I can literally feel esteem for Him flooding my soul. Dads, kiss your wives. Romance them. Don’t stop pursuing their hearts. We are watching. And the scary thing is…the way you treat each other will have a dramatic effect on our perception of marriage.
4. Be There
If you want to win your daughter’s heart, you have to physically be there for her. Not just at her soccer games, Christmas plays, spelling bees and dance recitals but also at home around the dinner table and especially sitting in the church pew next to her.
I’ve heard so many parents say that it’s not about the quantity of time but the quality of time. But the truth is…quality time is the product of the quantity. You can’t spend five minutes with your daughter when you get home and expect a deep meaningful conversation. It takes TIME.
5. Talk about everything…especially Boys
Not AT her but WITH her. I know women have a lot to say. But if you really take the time to listen, you will win our hearts. This will mean actively listening to stuff you don’t care anything about. But when you listen to us prattle on about the outfit we really like or the song we just heard on the radio, you are opening the door for deeper and more meaningful conversations later. Like boys….
Talk to us about boys! My Dad started this at a very young age. In fact, we used to play a game where he’d say the name of some boy we knew and I would tell him one thing I saw in that boy that was either like Christ or not like Christ. The older I get the more serious the discussions have become and now I realize that he has been teaching me how to identify Godly character qualities in a future spouse.
6. Praise Her
Michelle Duggar says, “Whoever praises your child will have their heart.” So if you want your daughter’s heart, you have to learn how to genuinely encourage her. This means acknowledging Godly character traits that you see in your daughter. Not flattery- which is really just exaggeration of the truth but praise.
7. Affirm Her/Tell Her She’s Beautiful
This may seem a lot like “praise her” but it’s actually different. Praising her involves character traits and achievements. But affirming her is reminding her that she has value to you, her family, and God no matter what.
Call out the beauty in your daughter when you see it. It’s important that you understand there is a hard- wired need in every woman to hear that she is beautiful in the eyes of a man. If you don’t tell her, she will look for it elsewhere. She may roll her eyes at you or tell you that you’re being cheesy, but don’t be dismayed. These are just pretenses because she’s afraid to show you how much it really means to her. She will carry your words of affirmation with her for the rest of her life. She will think about them long after they have been spoken. You cannot affirm her enough.
8. Pray with her.
Not just for her, though that is tremendously important also. But pray WITH her. When she hears you pray, it will allow her to get a glimpse of your heart. She will realize how much you love her and have her best interest in mind. This will make it so much easier for her to trust and follow you. When it’s time for her to submit, she will be better able to do so knowing that you also make yourself submissive to Christ.
Praying together with my Dad is the only way we have overcome many differences as I transitioned into adulthood. It is hard to pray with selfish motives because something about prayer exposes your true heart and you soon realize how foolish you’ve been. Praying together is the best tool you have to overcome relationship obstacles.
Pray with her, for her future husband. Sometimes girls think that their father’s are just being over protective and will “never let them marry anyone.” When you pray for her future spouse, you remind her that it is your desire for her to find true love too but with the RIGHT kind of man.
9. Be her Hero
Finally, buy her flowers! Or that necklace she really wants. Or even a snack on the way home from church. Honestly, the item or its value do not matter. But occasionally, just give her a gift for no other reason than to show her that you value her greatly. It will make her day. I promise.
These are just a few tips off of the top of my head. But they sure worked for my dad! I love you, Daddy and you have my heart!